A City Without Streets

Not too long ago, on a particularly glorious Sunday afternoon — the kind of sunny but cool day that happens all too rarely in Hong Kong — I took the MTR out to Po Lam station in Tseung Kwan O. Leaving the station, I walked along a linear park built atop the MTR tracks, which […]

Modernism Debauched

Villa Besnus in 1922 and 2010. Photo compilation by Laurent David Ruamps In 1922, Le Corbusier was hired by a man named George Besnus to build a new house in the Paris suburb of Vaucresson. It was the architect’s first chance to put the Purist ideals he had been toying with to practice: an architecture […]

Le Corbusier Died and Nobody Noticed

On August 27th, the forty-fifth anniversary of the death of Swiss architect Le Corbusier slipped by with nobody noticing. His legacy, however, lives on in cities around the world. His idea was to make things better for people. Getting rid of substandard, unhealthy housing, and separating industry from residential areas was supposed to reform both […]

Clean and Green

The first time I went to Singapore — in April, 2000 — the city state was in the middle of a “Clean and Green: That’s the Way We Like It” campaign. That was nothing unusual, I discovered later, but as I wandered around this densely populated island nation I was impressed by just how green […]

Ghetto in the Sky

Suburban Toronto at night. Photo by Dennis Marciniak In 1970, Toronto was in the throes of Apartment Fever; nearly 40 years later, we are paying for it, and dearly. It seems like a cruel joke for a city that tries so hard to become a centre of good design, but concrete evidence of this mid-century […]